Schilbe banguelensis (Boulenger, 1911)
Golden barbel
Schilbe banguelensis
photo by RMCA

Family:  Schilbeidae (Schilbid catfishes)
Max. size:  59 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 3,000.0 g
Environment:  demersal; freshwater,
Distribution:  Africa: Lake Mweru system, Luapula River, Lake Bangwelu system and Chambezi River (upper Congo River basin) in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia (Ref. 43912).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): -1. Diagnosis: adipose fin always present; head rounded; anterior nostrils closer to each other than are posterior ones; snout reaching beyond lower jaw; inner side of pectoral spine feebly serrated; nasal barbel always reaching beyond posterior eye border and sometimes extremely long developed (Ref. 43912). Description: 10-11 soft pectoral fin rays; 51-56 branched anal rays; 47-49 non-fused vertebrae; 8-10 branchiostegal rays on one side of head; caudal peduncle longer than deep; development of barbels very variable; nasal barbel reaches at least to just beyond posterior eye border (almost halfway between eye and opercle) and at maximum to halfway along pectoral spine; maxillary barbels show same variation as nasal ones; outer mandibular barbel reaches at least to anterior border of opercle and at maximum to halfway along pectoral spine; inner mandibular barbel reaches at least to halfway between eye and at maximum to anterior border of opercle; often, anterior rays of dorsal, pectoral, pelvic and anal fins considerably elongated; elongation of these fins might be associated with longer circumoral barbels (Ref. 43912). Schilbe banguelensis is probably most closely related to S. grenfelli, S. mystus and S. congensis, all species with a more or less uniform pale and silvery coloration, a rather small, slightly inferior mouth, the snout reaching beyond the lower jaw and the anterior nostrils being closer to each other than are the posterior ones; however, in S. grenfelli and S. mystus the nasal barbel never reaches beyond the orbit while it always reaches further in S. banguelensis; in S. congensis on the other hand the inner mandibular barbels are rudimentary or absent and the eyes are much smaller than in S. banguelensis (Ref. 43912). Coloration: in alcohol: back and head brownish; sides silvery or light brownish, sometimes irregularly stained; pectoral, dorsal and pelvic fins often brown or black brownish; anal fin often with dark border (Ref. 43912).
Biology:  Possibly reaches twice the maximum size reported and a weight of more than 5 kg; predominantly piscivorous, larger specimens feeding exclusively on fish; in Lake Mweru omnivorous with a piscivorous and sarcophagous tendency; probably reproduces during the rainy season (Ref. 43912). Oviparous, eggs are unguarded (Ref. 205).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 16 February 2009 Ref. (130435)
Threat to humans:  harmless

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